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vs. TENNESSEE

Braswell Rules With an Iron Hand

November 18, 1998|STEVE HENSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — From fouls to difficulty following team rules, trouble has accompanied Rico Harris in his short time at Cal State Northridge.

Harris, billed as the most talented player to enroll at Northridge when he transferred from L.A. City College in August, was suspended by Coach Bobby Braswell before an 83-64 loss to Tennessee on Tuesday night.

"Rico broke a team rule and I will not compromise our rules," Braswell said. "The suspension is for only this one game and it was not over anything too serious."

But it is familiar. Six Northridge players were suspended at various times last season, and two--Brian Hagens and Jabari Simmons--ultimately were removed from the team.

"Every time we move one step forward, we go four steps back," Braswell said.

Problems are not new for Harris. After earning player of the year honors in 1997 while guiding L.A. City to the state title, he was suspended for five games last season and a rift developed between him and Coach Mike Miller. Until Tuesday, however, Harris appeared to fit fine under Braswell's disciplined hand.

The only time Harris touched a basketball Tuesday was while retrieving his teammates' errant shots during a morning shoot-around.

The Matadors lost, 83-64, to the No. 18-ranked Volunteers.

Braswell would not allow Harris to comment.

"He's not ready for that right now," Braswell said.

Harris, a 6-foot-9 junior forward who was an all-section high school player and a former JC state player of the year, has yet to really display his skills.

He sat out the last 17 minutes of the first half of the Matadors' opener against Long Beach State after picking up two fouls. Harris played most of the second half and had nine points and seven rebounds against the 49ers.

*

Carl Holmes, who played only three minutes in the opener against Long Beach State because of calcium deposits in his left knee, ignored the pain against Tennessee.

The sophomore guard played 20 minutes and scored 14 points, making five of 12 shots.

*

Andre Larry transferred from Oregon to Northridge when Jerry Green left as coach of the Ducks to take an opening at Tennessee.

Larry, a junior forward from Verbum Dei High, finally got to play again with Green watching, scoring 13 points against the Volunteers. He made six of 12 shots while playing 22 minutes.

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